NewsChannel5 Investigators have learned the City of Cleveland has hired an outside law firm to represent the city and 13 officers named in a federal lawsuit filed by the family members of the victims of the deadly Nov. 2012 police chase and shooting.
CLEVELAND - Cleveland Chief of Police Michael McGrath says he will stay the course during the investigation into a chase and shooting that killed two people.
On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the BCI's findings into the deadly Nov. 29 chase, calling it a "systemic failure" by the Cleveland Police Department. The next day, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association called for McGrath to resign .
"I have been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years. I took an oath of office to serve this community and I will continue to honor that oath," McGrath said in a letter posted on the department's Facebook page on Thursday.
"I take seriously my responsibility to the people I serve and the officers I command. I have not forgotten what it is like to be a patrol officer or a detective or a supervisor. I am the same Mike McGrath today as I was then and I'll be the same Mike McGrath tomorrow. I know how difficult police work is and how much incidents like that which occurred on November 29th affect our community, our families and our officers."
Following the chase, McGrath said there would be an administrative review. Since then, the committee has combed through police radio recordings, video, vehicle locator information and the reports from the 62 cars involved, the chief said.
McGrath said that the committee is also considering road conditions and lighting, pedestrian traffic and the BCI reports in its review.
"Our process will continue to be thorough and the results will be fair. If we find policy and rule violations, we will hold officers accountable. If we find that officers did not violate our policies and rules, they will continue to have my full support," McGrath said.
CPPA President Jeff Follmer cited a lack of confidence and morale being low as reasons for the chief to step aside.
"Officers were pursuing a vehicle that was perceived as firing a shot at police officers," Follmer said on Wednesday. "These officers should be commended for their actions." He said, instead, these officers are now facing termination, suspension and demotion by the chief's review committee.
The police union isn't the only group upset about how the investigation has been handled. Cleveland City Council and several community groups are angry that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty stood next to DeWine during Tuesday's news conference. Many are asking McGinty to recuse himself from the case and questioning his objectivity.
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